Search and work: Government plans to overhaul dole scheme

The federal government says the unemployed should be out there looking for work every day as it prepares to make them search for 40 jobs a month and perform 25 hours of weekly community work.


Details of the government’s new three-year $5.1 billion job placement program, to be launched from July next year, was released on Monday.

Job service providers will be rewarded for getting people into short-term work for periods of four, 12 and 26 weeks.

Most job seekers will be required to look for up to 40 jobs per month and work for the dole will be mandatory for all jobseekers younger than 50.

Jobseekers younger than 30 would have to work 25 hours a week under the expanded program, while those between 30 and 49 will be asked to do 15 hours work a week, and those aged 50-60, 15 hours a week.

Wage subsidies will be expanded for mature age workers, and extended to young job seekers under 30 and the long-term unemployed.

Assistant Employment Minister Luke Hartsuyker says the new measures are the least the taxpayer expected of those on welfare.

“It’s not unreasonable to expect jobseekers to be out there looking for work, every working day,” he told ABC radio on Monday.

Labor accused the government of tearing apart the principles of the mutual obligation system.

The new arrangements will mean jobseekers under 30 will receive no welfare for six months but still be required to door-knock for jobs.

“They will not receive a cent, even if they look for work each day, each week, for six months,” opposition employment spokesman Brendan O’Connor told ABC radio.

“Yet now they’re having to keep their side of the bargain.”

Mr O’Connor supported the idea of removing red tape for job service providers, but only if it was done properly in consultation with industry.

The tough new dole requirements will set jobseekers up to fail, Greens leader Christine Milne says.

“We should stop demonising people who don’t have a job, and suggesting that every unemployed person doesn’t want to work,” she told reporters in Hobart.